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Founded in 2013, the Cheat River Review is an online literary journal based out of the West Virginia University MFA program in Morgantown, West Virginia. We feature both emerging and established writers and artists. We publish outstanding works of fiction, poetry, creative nonfiction, and visual art. Each year, we nominate authors for the Pushcart prize, Best of the Net, and other major literary awards.

The Cheat River Review is named after a river that flooded and destroyed an entire town in 1985. This same river was saturated by orange acid mine run-off that tinted its water and shifted its ecosystem. The Cheat is beautiful evidence of nature that adapts and shifts—a body that may change the shape of its banks or even its composition, but has a consistent presence in West Virginia’s landscape and culture. West Virginia residents are challenged to find a delicate balance between use and reverence for this river.

At the Cheat River Review we don’t want to be shoehorned into “just” a nature magazine, or “just” a regional journal. We want to grow well beyond the edges this river carves through the mountains. To rust belt cities and the dry plains of the Midwest; to people speaking in hundreds of accents and languages; to a world where these distinctions help fill in detail but not divide us. But we are not ashamed of the land we live on or the voices that shape us. We need strong voices. And that is our directive, our goal: to find writing that speaks so powerfully we can’t ignore it.

Featured Pieces

  • Three Poems by Ashley Danielle Ryle

    You must understand how much I love my husband, how beautiful / he is naked in the kitchen in midnight thirst: his two beards, / his crooked left ear, how even after everything we go at it

  • An Interview with Oliver de la Paz

    West Virginia University had the pleasure of hosting Oliver de la Paz as our Sturm Writer in Residence this Fall. While he Zoomed with us, I had the opportunity to ask him some questions about his most recent book, The Boy in the Labyrinth.

  • Not Daniel

    By Deesha Philyaw. I parked in the shadows behind the hospice center, and waited. I held a box of condoms on my lap, Magnum XLs. It was like being sixteen again, except this time I bought the condoms instead of relying on the boy.


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